Sir Norman Joseph Wisdom

Sir Norman Joseph Wisdom

Marylebone, City of Westminster, Greater London, England
Death 4 Oct 2010 (aged 95)
Malew, Rushen, Isle of Man
Burial Bride, Ayre, Isle of Man
Memorial ID 59610870 · View Source
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Comedian, Singer-Songwriter, Actor. Norman was born in the Marylebone district of London. He was best known for a series of comedy films produced between 1953 and 1966, featuring his onscreen "gump" character Norman Pitkin. He later also had a career on Broadway, as a television actor, and in other films. He won critical acclaim for the dramatic role of a dying cancer patient in the television play 'Going Gently' in 1981. He did not retire from acting until the advanced age of 90 years, due to deteriorating health. In his early life, he worked in a variety of jobs. He served his country in the military as a drummer boy, and served some of his time posted in India. While there, he became educated, and was the flyweight boxing champion of the British Army. As well, he learned to play the trumpet and clarinet. During this time of his life, he discovered he had a talent for entertainment, and began to develop his skills as a musician and stage entertainer. After leaving the military, he worked some time as a telephone operator, and when World War II broke out, he put his professional skills to work in a communications center, where he directed phone calls from commanders to the Prime Minister. He actually got to meet Winston Churchill more than once during this time, and ended up back in the military, doing similar phone-operating duties. He continued to pursue entertainment, and in 1941, he provided the lyrics for the popular WWII song "(There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover". After leaving the military in 1946, he began his career as a professional entertainer at the age of 31, and became popular very quickly. His television, film, and stage career spanned several decades, and included a large variety of entertainment and acting from comedy to drama. Interestingly, as well as his homeland of England, he was particularly popular in Albania, because he was the only Western actor whose films were allowed in the country during the dictatorship of Enver Hoxha. After his retirement from acting in 2005, he did make one more appearance in 2007 at the age of 91. In regards to his personal life, he had two children with his second wife. The couple divorced in 1968, and he was granted full custody of the children. Some of his favorite activities to support were British soccer, and playing golf. He also very much enjoyed cars. His health began declining considerably in 2006, with increasing heart problems, the onset of dementia, and a number of strokes until his time of death. Reportedly, the dementia eventually took such a strong hold, that he did not even recognize himself in his own films. In 2007, a Norman Wisdom-themed bar opened at the Sefton Hotel, Douglas, called "Sir Norman's". It has stills from his many films on the walls, and TV screens playing some of his old films. The bronze statue of Wisdom, which used to be on a bench outside Douglas Town Hall, has been moved to the steps leading into the bar. His film career included "Trouble in Store" (1953), which earned him a BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Film in 1954, the musical comedy film "The Night They Raided Minsky's" (1968), "Alone in the Dark/Evil Calls: The Raven" (2002/2008), "Coronation Street" (2004), and "Expresso" (2007). His Broadway career included the musical comedy "Walking Happy" (1966), which earned him a Tony Award nomination. His television career included "Last of the Summer Wine" (1995 to 2004). In 1996, he received the 'Special Achievement Award' from the London Film Critics. In 2000, he was awarded knighthood. He was 95 when he passed away.

Bio by: Melanie


Remembered With a Laugh

Loving Husband of Freda

Aged 95 Years.

Gone But Not Forgotten


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Melanie
  • Added: 4 Oct 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 59610870
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sir Norman Joseph Wisdom (4 Feb 1915–4 Oct 2010), Find A Grave Memorial no. 59610870, citing Kirk Bride, Bride, Ayre, Isle of Man ; Maintained by Find A Grave .